Cholesterol, Elevated

High blood cholesterol levels (hypercholesterolemia) usually have little or nothing to do with the amount of cholesterol eaten.  Cholesterol is a vital bodily substance.  It is a constituent of bile; it helps to convert sunlight into vitamin D; it is used to produce sex hormones; and it is needed by every cell in the body to keep membranes waterproof and to assist in the transmission of nerve impulses.  The brain requires large amounts of cholesterol.  Cholesterol is so important that the less of it we eat, the more of it our bodies produce.  On an omnivorous diet, from 70 to 80 per cent of the cholesterol in the body is endogenous (made within the body) and does not come from diet.  Since cholesterol is found only in foods of animal origin, on a vegan (total vegetarian) diet, 100 per cent of the cholesterol in the body is endogenous.

Cholesterol also serves as an antioxidant of last resort – when the body lacks sufficient dietary antioxidants (e.g., vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium) to counter the free radicals that damage arterial walls.  In this role, cholesterol covers over patches of arterial damage and gives up electrons (i.e., becomes oxidized) in order to neutralize free radicals and prevent further damage to the arteries.  In the process, this cholesterol becomes oxidized.

The other dietary/lifestyle factors that contribute to elevated cholesterol levels include (a) not drinking enough water, (b) excess sugar intake, (c) insufficient dietary fibre, and (d) lack of exercise.  High cholesterol readings can also be an overlooked symptom of low thyroid function.

Cholesterol-lowering prescription drugs are potentially lethal.  They reduce cholesterol everywhere in the body, including in the brain – where cholesterol acts as an insulator to prevent water from entering nerve cells and shorting out electrical circuits.  People who take cholesterol-lowering drugs increase their risk of dying from suicide or violent accident.  These drugs may cause a brain lapse, for example, causing a person to pull out into heavy traffic without looking.

Nutrients that tend to lower cholesterol in entirely natural ways include red yeast rice extract, guggul resin, niacin, pantethine, and phytosterols.

See also the chapter, “The Cholesterol Myth”, in NUTRITIONAL SOLUTIONS FOR 88 CONDITIONS:

Example of safe cholesterol lowering formula

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